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Improved access to Seaboard beaches provides best natural medicine (29/06/11)
Access to the beach at Shandwick was recently improved with the opening of “The Path of Good Health” affording locals and visitors the opportunity to take the sea air -often cited as ‘one the best medicines’.
Getting down to the beach is no longer a problem and further erosion of the sand bank and dunes should be prevented thanks to the construction of a beach path with steps, a ramp and handrails. The path construction has been built with access for all in mind - a smooth surface and reduced gradients. Picnic tables for wheelchair use have also been provided.
The project to improve beach access at Shandwick, Balintore and Hilton was funded by The Highland Council’s Core Path Implementation Programme (HCPIP) and the European Community Highland LEADER 2007-2013 Programme.
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee said: “This is just the kind of project we were hoping for The Highland Council’s Core Path Implementation Programme. With strong local demand and led, with plenty of community input it provides somewhere for people with mobility problems to enjoy a part of the shore while protecting some of the fragile dunes as well.”
Philip Waite, Highland Council’s Access Officer arranged the project after being contacted by the community. Doug Kippen, Lyn Dyke, and Pat Murray (Nigg and Shandwick) and Keith Hart (Hilton and Balintore) led the effort to develop the project after complaints from local residents about the difficulties of accessing the beach.
Strathpeffer-based firm Highland Conservation Services was commissioned to carry out the path works and gaps in the sand dunes have been filled and protected to help stop further erosion, these are now starting to be covered in vegetation.
The path at Shandwick has been named ‘The Path of Good Health’ and another path at Balintore the ‘Dolphin Way’.
A further grant was awarded by the Scottish charity ‘Paths for All’ for strimmers and other materials for path maintenance by local volunteers.